I just love going down to my local shopping centre and watching pure, honest, undiluted customer service act itself out right in front of my very eyes. It's just fantastic and I cannot get enough of it. Minute after minute moments of truth are played out without any owner noticing, without any financial transaction occuring but activities that will shape that business for the next 12 months!

Stores that are opened 10 minutes late after keen customers are lined up. A store assistant that saw a man struggling to get a product promptly help him and offer a smile and a conversation that made his day. A manager that compliments a customer on their choice and asks whether they have a passion in this particular area. All actions that will shape the future of these organisations.

As managers, how do we allow these moments of truth to slip under our radar. Oh yes, we were ensuring the cash register was stocked or the emails from overnight from our manager were promptly answered. Are we for real?

What drives a business to greatness? Yes, its those transactions that happen day in, day out that make a customers day who in turn, tells every one they meet that day and the weekend how great an experience they had. And who remember that transation FOREVER!

Its not about amazing offers, quirky store fronts or flyers promising 50% off (on selected items) - it's about connecting with your customers and providing them an experience. Caring about their needs and listening to their desires. If you start to know your customers (really know them not what an inventory report tells you), your whole life and business will change. No longer will you stress about the next stock line and what will work - you'll know. No longer will you worry about next months sales - you'll know. No longer will you ponder whether that decision was the right one - you'll know..... because the very people you are trying to predict and guess their next move will tell you!!!

Make sure you are listening and not out the back of the store!

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